A sauna suit is a garment that raises your body’s temperature, encouraging you to sweat more and burn more calories during a workout. It’s often used by boxers and wrestlers to help them shed water weight before a competition or weigh-in, as well as by anyone seeking to lose fat. While it’s true that the more you sweat, the more you lose, there are some things to consider before deciding whether or how long and often to wear a sauna suit.
A basic sauna suit will typically have a rubberized interior that insulates the body and prevents it from releasing its heat through air, which is what allows the body to cool down during exercise by evaporating the little droplets of water, salt, and other minerals from the skin. It also has elastic bands that rest on the neck and wrists for the upper piece and on the waist and ankles for the lower piece, and you’ll need to wear a moisture-wicking, body-hugging undergarment underneath. Slip it on before you put on your sauna suit and secure the elastic bands in the recommended places (collarbone and wrists for the upper piece and waist and ankles for the lower).
Using a sauna suit can also cause the muscles to feel tighter than they would without one, causing you to believe that you’re working harder during a workout than you really are. This leads to overtraining, which can lead to injury. A sauna suit can also cause you to drink more water than usual, which is good if you’re hydrating regularly, but it can be bad if you’re drinking too much water. The excess fluid can dilute the electrolytes in the bloodstream, causing dehydration and muscle cramping.
If you’re a beginner, start off slow with your use of a sauna suit, starting with 5 to 10 minutes at a time and gradually increasing the duration over time. Always be sure to take breaks, as overtraining can be dangerous. During your workouts, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking water both during and after your workout.
It’s important to note that there aren’t a lot of studies regarding the benefits of sauna suits and more research is needed, especially on their longer-term use. In addition, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor first if you have any health issues that might interfere with your ability to exercise safely in a sauna suit.
One thing to keep in mind is that sauna suits can be very taxing on the heart and lungs and can contribute to high blood pressure, as well as dehydration. People with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health conditions should avoid wearing a sauna suit at all. They’re particularly risky for individuals who have difficulty with thermoregulation. They should also avoid long or high-intensity workouts while in a sauna suit and make sure to properly hydrate throughout their training sessions.